MSD students attend global pop artist Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour in Tampa


Jessie Gesund

Pop superstar Taylor Swift performs “Blank Space” during the 1989 portion of Tampa Day 2 of The Eras Tour, which showcases songs from each album. LED bracelets handed out to concert-goers at the entrance illuminate the crowd and change color according to the different songs of each era.

Jessie Gesund, Associate Editor-In-Chief

Bejeweled pants, cowgirl boots and disco ball earrings as main accessories could be seen at Raymond James Stadium for one of the most anticipated events of the year. Once the concert begins, happy tears and screams fill the crowds of dedicated fans. With global pop artist Taylor Swift having performed on Thursday, April 13 through Saturday, April 15, many Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students flocked to Tampa, Florida to sing their hearts out with the 12-time Grammy Award winner.

Originally, Swift was set to go on a world tour called “Loverfest” for her album “Lover” in 2020; however, the COVID-19 pandemic wrecked Swift’s plans and kept her from touring for three years. With three brand new albums and two re-recorded albums having been released since the start of COVID-19, Swift has a great deal of catching up to do with her fans.

Recently, Swift embarked on her Eras Tour, which consists of three-hour long concerts that take the crowd on a journey through every era of her music career. With sections of the show dedicated to each album, Swift has 10 albums worth of ground to cover.

Since school was in session at the time of ticket sales on Nov. 15, 2022, with the entertainment company Ticketmaster hosting the sale, students had a troublesome time securing tickets. The site, which is used by many performing artists and venues, was controversial because it uses price-fixing, adds additional fees to ticket purchases and often crashes when people are trying to buy tickets.

“I missed school in the morning [to buy tickets] and I was so anxious,” sophomore Ayana Aman said. “I had three computers open and I tried to get tickets for originally the 14[th], and I wasn’t able to, but I ended up getting tickets for the 13[th].”

Starting in Glendale, Arizona on March 17, Swift made her way to Tampa, which is a four-to-five hour car ride from Parkland and Coral Springs. The initial tour announcement consisted of only one Tampa show; however, Swift added two more shows due to the high demand.

Raymond James Stadium’s safety policy has different rules than most standard stadiums, as exemplified by their “no bag” policy. Small clutches that were 4 and a 1/2 by 6 and 1/2 inches are allowed; therefore, some fans resorted to wallet clutches or children’s purses. Aside from rules, the stadium has over 10 different parking lots where fans were able to buy parking passes and walk to the stadium. Additionally, a decorated merchandise truck was parked outside of the entrance with a two-hour minimum wait line.

“Instead of getting the merch[andise] outside and waiting two or three hours, I ended up going inside [the stadium] and waiting an hour to get a shirt, a hoodie and a poster, which ended up costing me 160 dollars,” junior Frédérique Faucher. “I usually spend as much as I want on merch[andise] because you are never going to go back to the concert to be able to get it.”

MSD students, along with thousands of others, collectively decided to dress to the nines for the concert. Common outfit themes amongst concert-goers were country-chic or bedazzled everything, in accordance to Swift’s country music era when many people originally became fans and Swift’s personal liking for all things glittery and sparkly. Stars, disco balls, hearts and snakes were patterned on many outfits to represent well-known symbols from different albums. Additionally, many fans replicated outfits from Swift’s past red-carpet appearances, concerts and music videos.

“During Taylor’s Red [era] part of the show, she had these t-shirts that said ‘who’s Taylor Swift, ew,’ or ‘Not much going on at the moment,’…So I made one of them and it said ‘A lot is going on at the moment,’” sophomore Ayla Keshavarzi said. “When she came out on stage, she was actually wearing the exact same shirt.”

Starting in Glendale, Arizona, fans began trading handmade beaded friendship bracelets before the concert started. Inspired by the lyrics “Make the friendship bracelets” from Swift’s song “You’re on Your Own Kid” off of her album “Midnights,” the trend soared into a trading frenzy amongst fans, stadium staff, security and even Swift’s father, Scott Swift. Additionally, many fans drew the number 13 on their hands, a trend started by Swift in 2009 to represent her lucky number.

As the clock struk 8 p.m., rays of pink and orange decorated the Tampa sky as Swift strutted onto stage. Greeted with the exhilarating screams of her fans and Florida humidity, the show had officially begun. Whether fans had been listening since 2006–which was when most high school sophomores and juniors were born–or 2023, the opening song, “Miss Americana,” had people on their feet singing and dancing.

“Even though I was in the nosebleeds, I could see everything,” Keshavarzi said. “I was speechless and honestly it was one of the best nights of my life because I was screaming so hard that I woke up the next morning and my stomach hurt.”

Throughout the concert and the different eras, special moments arose for fans to yell chants that were either fan-created or that Swift did not include in her set. For example, Swift sings the version of “Bad Blood” without Kendrick Lamar. Since Lamar was not there in person, fans chanted his line “You forgive, you forget, but you never let it go” during the bridge of the song. A more popular fan-generated chant, “One, two, three let’s go b*tch” during the song “Delicate” could be heard from down the street according to fans on TikTok who did not get tickets, but who sat outside the stadium.

During the acoustic set of the show, Swift sings two surprise songs that are different for every show. At her first show of the tour, she explained a set of rules for the surprise songs, in that she could not repeat these songs after they have been performed on a particular night. The only instance in which she would repeat these songs would be if she were to mess them up in any way, as stated by Swift.

Fans were left on the edge of their seats during her short monologue before the surprise performances. After the build up of anticipation, it was revealed that Thursday night’s crowd was going to hear the songs “Speak Now” and “Treacherous,” Friday’s surprise being “The Great War” with a guest appearance from Swift’s co-writer and producer Aaron Dessner and “You’re On Your Own Kid” and Saturday’s surprise being “Mad Woman” with Dessner on guitar and “Mean.”

“I really liked the idea of the surprise songs because I feel like every night there needs to be some sort of unique experience that makes the fans feel special,” Keshavarzi said. “I feel like everyone bonds over the songs that we got and everyone bonds over the songs they get. It was really nice to have something that we could remember and be like ‘That was our night.’”

With fireworks blasting into the air, confetti spraying out into the crowd and beaming lights pointing out to the sky and to the crowd, Swift brought the night to an end with “Karma.” When the industrial stadium lights turned back on, the crowd was pulsing with excitement.

“I was on such a high from being at the concert that it didn’t hit me that the concert was over,” Faucher said. “The next morning I was really upset because I had been waiting so long for it.”

Between the preparation, the eagerness upon arrival, the setlist and the engagement during the performances, students enjoyed their time at The Eras Tour. Swift heads to Atlanta, Georgia for her next show from April 28-30 in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“I’m definitely going to remember [the concert],” Aman said. “This was the peak of my career and I don’t think any concert is ever going to beat this.”

Now that Swifties–the official name for Swift’s fans–are back in school at MSD, many have been seen sporting concert merchandise throughout the week. Although ticket acquisition was difficult and the journey to Tampa was not a short drive, many MSD students got the opportunity to attend one of the biggest concerts of the year according to Billboard.